By Simon Miller
The UK government is likely to miss its debt reduction goals this year after Office for National Statistics figures showed borrowing for the first five months of the year running at over 25% above targets.
Between April and August, the government borrowed £61.3bn - 26.7% over the same period last year - once the one-off savings created by the Royal Mail Pension Scheme and the Bank of England's Special Liquidity Scheme were excluded.
The overshoot has been caused by failing tax receipts - down £0.7bn at £41.1bn - and rising spending which saw expenditure go up £11.2bn to £617.4bn.
Despite planned £18bn worth of austerity measures, it is likely that the Chancellor George Osbourne will have to admit that his fiscal targets will be missed in his Autumn statement in December.
Indeed, governor of the Bank of England Mervyn King told Chanel 4 News last night that it may be "acceptable" for Osbourne to miss the debt targets due to the state of the global economy.
He commented: "It would not be acceptable to miss the debt target if there was no excuse for it."
Although borrowing hit a record high of £14.41bn in August, the figures were better than the expected £15bn. National debt edged up to £1.04 trillion, or to 66.1pc of GDP,